Russian general who told troops war would be over ‘in hours’ killed in Ukraine

Another Russian general has been killed in Ukraine, western officials said.

Lieutenant General Yakov Rezanstev is the seventh general Ukraine claims to have killed since Russia invaded.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, first announced the death.

He said Rezanstev died amid intense fighting at Chornobaivka airfield, a site near Kherson which Russian forces have been using as a command post.

Rezanstev was commander of Russia’s 49th Combined Arms Army, a unit previously stationed in the Southern Military District on Ukraine’s border.

Days after the invasion began, Rezantsev was confident the Russian campaign would be successful within a matter of hours, according to a conversation intercepted by the Ukrainian army.

Gen Rezantsev said to have been killed in action (Oleksiy Arestovych)
Gen Rezantsev said to have been killed in action (Oleksiy Arestovych)

In a call posted on social media by the army, a Russian soldier is heard complaining to his superior: “Here? Rezantsev is in charge.

“We only met him once since we arrived here ... It was the 4th day and you know what he said?

“Get this: ‘It’s no secret that this operation is going to be over in mere hours’.”

Western officials said Rezantsev was the seventh general killed so far in fighting. Russia has confirmed the death of one.

Ukraine said several other senior Russian military figures have been killed on different fronts of Moscow’s offensive.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a member of Volodymyr Zelensky's inner circle said Ukraine had a military intelligence team dedicated to targeting Russia's military elite.

“They look for high profile generals, pilots, artillery commanders,” the source told the newspaper.

Rezantsev is the second general claimed to have been killed at Chornobaivka, after Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev was reported to have died at the airfield on the outskirts of Kherson last Saturday.

Protesters chant ‘go home’ at Russian military vehicles at a pro-Ukraine rally in Kherson on Monday (Reuters)
Protesters chant ‘go home’ at Russian military vehicles at a pro-Ukraine rally in Kherson on Monday (Reuters)

Ukraine said on Saturday its forces were poised to take back Kherson, the first major city to fall into Russian hands.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday Russia appeared to have withdrawn most of its helicopters from Chornobaivka as the Ukrainian troops pressed to take back their lost territory.

 (PA)
(PA)

Further north, Ukraine forced Russian troops out of some towns around Kyiv in recent days, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Russia said on Friday it would shift focus to the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. US officials said Moscow may have paused its attempt to capture Kyiv.